Roseate Spoonbills, American White Pelicans, Willets. Shane Conklin/Great Backyard Bird Count

Restoring the Gulf of Mexico

Building a resilient Gulf Coast for birds and people

The Gulf of Mexico is one of America’s great ecological treasures.

The region is home to a vast array of bird species and other wildlife, including 11 of Audubon’s flagship species as well as six Audubon priority species. These species use the Gulf at some point during their life cycles, for breeding, overwintering or as a migratory stopover. These species represent at least 300 other species and the ecosystem on which they depend.

Audubon is committed to restoring the Gulf of Mexico by focusing on priority habitats for these and other species, from Texas to Florida and out to the open ocean. The challenges facing the wildlife and human communities in the Gulf have been, and will continue to be, significant. For that reason, Audubon is working to monitor the health of birds and the places they need in the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

Through sound science, policy leadership, and habitat conservation and restoration, Audubon and our partners are protecting and revitalizing ecosystems battered by natural and human-made disasters, and advancing measures to protect birds in the face of overdevelopment, extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and other climate change impacts. Now, with unprecedented funding available for Gulf restoration and a greater need for effective conservation, we’re implementing four strategies to protect, enhance, and rebuild bird habitat:

  • Monitoring of flagship and priority bird species
  • Strategic conservation planning and advocacy
  • Coastal conservation and restoration through collaborative partnerships and programs, like the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition
  • Long-term stewardship

What Coastal Bird Stewardship Looks Like

Audubon's Vision

Comprehensive Gulf Restoration Plan

Here's our vision on how to protect birds and people of the Gulf of Mexico from threats like sea-level rise and storm surge, and to help the region recover from devastating hurricanes, the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, and other environmental and human-made disasters. The projects and programs highlighted in this report will directly benefit key bird species, while setting the region on a path to long-term environmental health and resilience.

To make our coastal communities stronger and to protect habitat vital for birds and other wildlife, Audubon is recommending an investment of more than $1.7 billion dollars across the 5 Gulf states and regionally to fund a suite of 30 projects that are crucial to help the region’s birds recover.

Audubon scientists identified over 8 million acres of suitable habitat for priority bird species across the Gulf that should be prioritized for restoration and conservation. These habitats include barrier and bay islands, headland beaches, intertidal bars and flats, and saltwater marshes and range from south Texas to the Florida panhandle.

News from the Gulf


Louisiana’s Most Ambitious Coastal Restoration Project Finally Takes Off

By redirecting Mississippi River sediment, the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will combat the state’s land-loss crisis.

Celebrate Audubon Texas’s Centennial with a Virtual Tour of the Coast

A new online explorer reveals the importance of the Texas Coast for birds across the hemisphere.
Common Tern with chicks.
Boreal Forests

The Common Tern

Keeping nesting sites in the Boreal protected is an important part of reversing the impacts of events like the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Several large American White Pelicans take flight on an island, while a large group of other waterbirds congregate on the beach in the background.

A Plan to Keep Texas's Rookeries Rooted in Place

Without action, a century of bird conservation could wash away with these small islands on the Texas coast.

New Funding to Help Gulf Coast Beachgoers Share the Shore with Birds

Audubon leads a new collaborative effort to design more effective coastal stewardship and management plans for the Gulf of Mexico.

A Historic Moment for Large-scale Restoration in the Gulf

A new set of landmark projects will restore the damage the oil spill caused to birds and their habitats across the Gulf Coast.

Audubon's presence in the Gulf

4 state or coastal  offices
71 chapters
118,000 members
94 staff
19 nature centers and sanctuaries
5 states participating in coastal stewardship programs
641 coastal stewardship and Audubon coastal bird survey sites

Black Skimmers. Bob Howdeshell/Great Backyard Bird Count

Birds That Depend on a Healthy Gulf